Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has defended the government's decision to administer business support grants through states and territories rather than the Commonwealth.
Senator Birmingham also noted grants and COVID-19 disaster relief packages replaced JobKeeper because funding needed to be targeted to areas under lockdown measures.
Labor senator Katy Gallagher questioned Treasury why the grants were different for businesses on either side of the ACT and NSW border, which Senator Birmingham replied by saying it was based on the health protocols of each jurisdiction.
"We are now dealing with quite localised arrangements," Senator Birmingham said.
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"That is why national cabinet agreed business support was better delivered ... if it was done by the state or territory."
Senator Gallagher said the latest rendition of support put greater pressure on the states to pay businesses, with some jurisdictions not having the existing infrastructure to set up a grants scheme.
"I have had some feedback that the way it was administered from payments from [Treasury] to the states and territories, who then have to arrange a new grant system, meant that there were delays in getting [business] support," Senator Gallagher said.
Treasury revealed $324 million had been provided to the ACT in COVID-19 disaster payments, while the support grants to bush capital are sitting at $124 million.
The department also unveiled $7.9 billion was provided to NSW in disaster payments, while Victoria took $3.8 billion.
Treasury deputy secretary, Jenny Wilkinson flagged JobKeeper's design was based on the assumption the country would remain in lockdown for at least six months because of the pandemic, with the intent of keeping workers employed.
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